This question is inspired by recent news of events in Beit Shemesh.

What happens halachically when 2 customs collide and each custom affects the other side? In the case of modesty, for example, requiring one side to dress more modestly may be a physical burden on that community. Maintaining their present dress may spiritually affect the other community.

There are many opinions flying around about the present situation but I have heard little about the way such disputes should be handled or were handled historically. I am looking for halachic sources and precedents only, but can be from any matter not just modesty.

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    I hate to say it but the Custom has always been amogst Jews no matter what country when 2 customs collide is to fight about it Dec 30, 2011 at 18:13
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    And that's probably true despite halachic rulings otherwise. I would still be interested in responsa on the subject.
    – YDK
    Dec 30, 2011 at 19:48
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    Regarding the issue of dressing with tznuah... If you read the actual sources, they only talk about what a man is not allowed to look at. The proper behavior as written "on the books" is to "close your eyes" or "look away", if their version of erva is not your version.
    – avi
    Dec 31, 2011 at 16:49
  • @avi, I would appreciate if you would bring those sources and post them as an answer.
    – YDK
    Jan 1, 2012 at 6:00
  • @YDK, but.. that was only the prelude to your actual question :)
    – avi
    Jan 1, 2012 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


Re what happens when two customs collide?

This is very important question.

The answer: in historic times, despite disagreements, the two camps would still be friends with each other and the followers would marry each other (the proof of real friendship).

Source: Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai would marry each other (despite their many disagreements on matters of Halacha). This is said specifically in the Gemara, but I don't have the source daf.

Updated source is a Beraisa on Yevamos 14. A src.

See many articles about this issue.

It is unfortunate that this principle is not more widely known or followed these days.

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    I was thinking about this gemara as I wrote the question, but from what I recall, they were careful not to violate those specifics that they argued about.
    – YDK
    Dec 30, 2011 at 19:45
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    @YDK: indeed. The Gemara in fact entertains the idea that it was all a theoretical machlokes and that even Beis Shammai never followed their opinion in practice, though it also leaves open the possibility that they did and would just take care to inform each other of the specifics of each case so that no one would end up going against their own halachic opinion.
    – Alex
    Dec 30, 2011 at 20:01
  • Be careful with this... this is only true when both sides were honestly seeking the truth. See, for example, the way perushim in the time frame of Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai responded to Tzedukim.
    – sq33G
    Jan 1, 2012 at 13:44

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